Love Letters to the Universe (A Roundup of new Crucial Bliss Releases)
A Crown of Amaranth - Love.lies.bleeding
Luasa Raelon - Into the Void
Light of Shipwreck - From the Idle Cylinders
by Keith Boyd 11.06.07
Bleak and spotty light lopes through the room in a tired smear. Bleak is the right word for it. Bleak like the view through the curtains of your FEMA trailer's window. Bleak like metallic lunar dust. Corridors of ash swirl and float in a never-ending carousel. The hot, dry air seems too selfish to claim it as its own. Instead it drifts endlessly; dust orphans held aloft by the corn husk arms of the wind. These are some tired days here. They weight on your chest and soul with oppression and boredom. Where to go? The air outside is so full of plastic dust and dry heat you'd be a fool to risk it for even a few minutes. So you sit. In the sitting your mind is freed from its mooring and soon you are far away from the dusty ruins of these last days of Empire and you're sailing the Spaceways.
Once upon a time we had endless choices at hand to relieve our pain and boredom. There were pills and powders for some, rituals and exercise for others. The average spate of depression could be either medically or economically suppressed within 5-15 minutes. On every street corner drive-through pharmacies would dispense quick acting serotonin uptake gels and blasts of nasal B-12. Mental health and well-being were simply a credit card swipe away. That was before the Great Fall. It seems like a dream now but there are many of us still alive who remember how things were before. It all seemed to happen so quickly. First George Bush declared himself Supreme Pope and Overlord of the Solar System and then it was bombs falling like rain from the sky. The last 12 years have seen space and time folding in on themselves. 90% of all plant and animal species were disposed of in the massive, "Intentional Extinction" program. Fetuses were implanted with smog re-breathing equipment while In Uteri. It was only a matter of time before something like the Off-World colony started to look like an attractive option to many of us.
As a part of this movement towards space colonization Crucial Bliss (a secretive subdivision of the record label Crucial Blast) began releasing a series of beautifully off-kilter sound experiments. The underlying, yet strangely unstated, mission of these projects was to familiarize the citizenry with the tripped out, psychedelic soundscape they would be exposed to in deep space. First there was "A Crown of Amaranth" with "Love.lies.bleeding". This corrosive slab presents us with a planet gone wrong. Dust clouds stir of bone dry metal shavings that catch and scratch everywhere. Doomed machinery runs in frantic, purposeless motion slowly tearing itself apart. A grey and yellow light casts a sickly pall of everything you look at. This dystopian future is serves as warning and snapshot. It's a portrait of everything we see going wrong and all that is to come as a consequence.
Luasa Raelon's "Into the Void" is a trip out further into the universe. Deep space and chthonic vastness are the overriding motifs. Everything we wish for we eventually project outward towards space. Perhaps this is a good idea, perhaps not. Our intentions affect our results. This space projection is the back through time travelogue and Captain's log of some corrupt and failed mission to the beyond. Encounters with these beings don't even come close to resembling E.T. and the little boy touching fingers. This is true alien coldness. It's an insectoid or reptilian intelligence that confronts one and it has no time for any petty human formalities. It has mouths to feed and eggs to plant.
Lastly there is Light of Shipwreck with, "From the Idle Cylinders". This percussion laden epic is a trip to both outer space and to the bottom of the sea. Dying bodies of water such as the Salton Sea are invoked. So are lonely drifting wrecks. Wrecks adrift on both the waves and gravity-less free float. Perhaps the most musical of these releases there is however no bowing down to either melody or harmony. It's more as though fragments of a song were drowned in the mud and snippets occasionally bubble to the surface.
All three of these discs are simply stunning. The sheer creative use of sound to evoke mystery and a sense of doomed adventure is astounding. Weaned as we are on endless retreads of the good old pop machine's 2:59 verse-chorus-verse format it's unlikely many people will have the pleasure of hearing these sounds. That's a shame on many levels. First off while there's nothing wrong with the pop format per say, it does lend itself to a limited range or palette. Some might say that this is good thing and that discipline breeds focus and therefore mastery. Okay I'll buy some of that but I'm not willing to go all the way. By limiting our intake of the amazing variety of sounds available we block out worlds. We eat and work and breed and shit in a small sonic space indeed. Giving it up in favor of the bigger and broader is way of saying yes to life. When we embrace the sounds of diesel motors and wind across sand we begin to tune into the amazing sounds that surround and bypass us daily. When we lend our ears (and monetary support) to sound artists such as these we further the notion of art and music acting as discovery tools leading us towards a genuine experience of our lives. And who knows, maybe by listening to these love letters to the universe we will one day be ready to make that great leap out into our future home deep in the Cosmos.